Today 1st April 2022, my country Malaysia embarks on the transformation stage from pandemic to endemic of COVID-19 virus. I have no idea when we shall enter the endemic stage but all of us still have to follow the standard SOP of keeping our distance apart and wearing masks.
All of us were affected in different ways and at different levels of infections. Among the more than 40,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in Malaysia, three are my close family members(one untie and two cousins) and two close friends. Among more than 4 million people infected by COVID-19 in Malaysia, at least 20 of them are my relatives. At least 10% of Malaysians were infected by the virus and they suffered differently according to their physical health and age.
Before the arrival of vaccines in Malaysia, the government has imposed a very strict MCO-Movement Control Order. This has a very negative impact on our personal and business lives. The employees were still getting their salaries but the self-employed like me are struggling to make ends meet. At the lower social-economic levels, most people have to work daily to feed their families. The government had to give cash to families and owners of small enterprises. Whatever help they received was not enough. Thanks to a few NGOs who really worked hard to help those in need.
With prolonged MCO, at least 30% of the shops in my town of Bandar Baru Bangi had to close shop or reduce their size of business operations. Subsequently, more people are out of jobs. The government had to give out more cash and even subsidised salaries to keep the staff of small companies remained employed. Sadly, the corporate giants which talk big about CSR-Corporate Social Responsibility remain mute and deaf. They were stingy to help and reduce the burden of their customers who helped them make billions of profit. It took government intervention to get banks to give a moratorium to borrowers to ease their cashflows.
Two years had passed by and the government had relaxed the SOPs from time to time to let the people go back to their normal life. Slowly the social-economic life started getting better when the vaccination rate was more than 95% in November/ December 2021. Beginning this year 2022, most people have learned to live in the New Normal. They had learned the hard way in the last two years.
Today, the national gate is open to tourists visiting Malaysia. Malaysians have been going overseas in the last few months. I hope this will bring tourists back to Malaysia. The tourism industry and travel business are among the worst affected by MCOs imposed off and on at various levels to prevent the spread of illnesses and deaths caused by the COVID-19 virus. It is sad to note that one big hotel in Kuala Lumpur has to close its operation for good.
As a business coach, I have to do all my group and personal coaching online. At the age of 67 years old I had to learn to use Zoom in 2020 and get used to it until today. However, nothing beats the face to face interaction with my students. For this year 2022, I will use the traditional way.
Over the course of more than two years of doing work from home, many of us already feel comfortable working from home. But not all business can be done online. Some businesses are using the hybrid method but most prefer to go back to work in the office. The preference is personal.
As a business coach, I recommend all business owners and self-employed review their Business Model Canvas and develop a new one to incorporate the various changes that had taken place in the last two years. Best of luck to all of us.